Letter to the editor: Health, safety threat

To the editor:

The League of Women Voters believes that the proliferation of handguns and semi-automatic assault weapons in the United States is a major health and safety threat to its citizens. We support strong federal measures to limit the accessibility and regulate the ownership of these weapons by private citizens and the regulation of firearms for consumer safety.

We support licensing procedures for gun ownership by private citizens to include a waiting period for background checks, personal identity verification, gun safety education and annual license renewal.

The League supports enforcement of strict penalties for the improper possession of and crimes committed with handguns and assault weapons, and allocation of resources to better regulate and monitor gun dealers.

This position has been studied by our members across the country and updated twice since it was adopted 27 years ago. We have supported legislation to extend the Assault Weapons Ban, which expired in 2004. We support closing the Gun Show Loophole to require all gun show dealers to run criminal background checks. The League has also opposed congressional attempts to repeal a specific locality’s gun safety laws (eg. Washington, D.C.), because such action interferes with citizens’ right to self-government.